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It may seem like a contradiction; usually I’m banging on about the importance of one’s inner life, and here I am saying the opposite. I can explain.

Recognising one’s inner needs  – and taking time to do things that nourish the spirit – benefits psychological balance and emotional robustness. Thinkers and philosophers throughout history have always said this (unsurprisingly). More recently it has been associated with being a ‘better person’, apparently, and whether or not you take this seriously, there’s no doubt that a modicum of self-awareness helps with lots of things, from social success to job satisfaction.

Conversely, therefore, not being aware of this aspect of one’s nature is akin to a depleted sense on the self, and quite a list of tendencies that include blaming others, self-pity and even narcissism. You’d think ignoring your inner life would be a definite no-no.

But it’s possible to use spiritual awareness as a recipe for life that ignores healthy balance. Living inside the whole time means avoiding the sunlight of the real world and engagement with it. We need an outer life too.

It also happens that a person can be focused on their inner needs to a point of obsession. Inability to disconnect from whats going on inside oneself can contribute to all sorts of problems and a life that’s out of kilter.

Self knowledge and awareness of one’s spirituality should not mean self-absorbtion, an unrealistic disconnection from the real world, or blindness to the needs of others.  Just as it can be harmful to deny one’s inner life, it can be equally damaging to neglect the outer one too.

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